August 05, 2014

Pod Mocnym Aniolem (2014)

Pod Mocnym Aniolem (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Wojciech Smarzowski
Country: Poland

Movie Review: The films from Polish filmmaker Wojciech Smarzowski are always interesting to follow, no matter what theme he chooses – whether the dark crime thriller of “The Dark House”, the humorous drama of “The Wedding”, the coldness of war in “Rose”, or the severe accusations of corruption and power abuse made by Polish police in “Traffic Department” – each of them had something valuable to say in its harshness and objective rawness. “Pod Mocnym Aniolem” (translated “The Mighty Angel”) is another powerful drama focused on alcoholism and based on Jerzy Pilch’s successful fourth novel with the same title. The film follows Jerzy (Robert Wieckiewicz), an intelligent and talented writer who can’t keep off from the bottles of vodka, even doing frequent treatments in a rehabilitation house and attending group sessions. Evincing a corrosive sense of humor, his denial takes him to a cynicism and to a spiral of degradation that not even the woman of his life is capable to bear. He wanders and writes in a sort of limbo state where reality and imagination interweave. We are taken through the stories told by other alcoholics, but also to Jerzy’s memories of his drunken father. Horrible images haunt us, depicting embarrassing situations, deliriums, vomiting, and crazy hangovers. It’s a sad film, about suffering, about loss, about fate… Its finale is simply devastating, even cruel. I was touched in two ways – one given the last hope sought by Jerzy, and the other through the creepy loneliness that can ruin everything again. Although with a slow-burning start, “Pod Mocnym Aniolem” won me over.

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